September: Abara Grows Border Relief Efforts, Hosts Prominent Figures, Connects with Global Organizations
September has been a busy month for the Abara Team. We began by hosting a pair of Border Encounters organized by Welcome, an initiative of the National Immigration Forum and World Relief, seeking to engage female faith leaders in conversations and advocacy towards biblical hospitality in the immigration context. Those visiting included influential authors, bloggers, and podcasters.
In recent weeks, we’ve been encouraged by the participants’ reactions and reflections to the visits. Author of The Ministry of Ordinary Places, Shannan Martin, writes in a recent Instagram post: “We don’t have to agree on the particulars of border security policy. But we can decide today that we will clean up our hearts and the words we speak, remembering that every word we utter is being said directly to the face of God, who chose the refugee and the sojourner to bring the kingdom of Heaven to Earth.”
The following week, Abara hosted a short visit from the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities before half of our team headed to San Antonio for the Texas Christian Community Development Network’s No Need Among You conference, which took place September 11th-13th.
Abara’s Executive Director, Sami DiPasquale and Border Encounter Facilitator/Shelter Connector, Blanca Castillo presented a workshop on migration push-factors and the current humanitarian crisis on the border during a break out session.
The Presbytery of Philadelphia sent a small dispatch to El Paso this past week to participate in a Border Encounter. Their visit concluded with a service project at one of the shelters in Juárez, cleaning and clearing space for sewing classes.
In addition to routine encounters, Abara team members have hosted individuals (lawmakers, foundation heads, and one high profile government official) for day trips and small service projects. This past week, Sami attended the Global Immersion Project’s Everyday Peacemaking Summit in Puerto Nuevo, México. He returned to El Paso with renewed vision for Abara, asking how this team might continue to leverage privilege and use its seat of power to draw attention to chronic immigration issues here at the border and mobilize peaceful systemic change.
Abara has a new logo, updated social media content, and is hard at work connecting with peacemakers near and far. We’re connected with dozens of shelters, organizations, churches, and government groups in El Paso/Juárez, and we’re continuing to connect with individuals and groups throughout North America. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @abarafrontiers and check our website regularly for updates.